The Not So Sweet Life of College Summers

Ah, summer. A break from the hustle and bustle of the last two semesters. A time to relax and renew. The sweet serenity of lazy days and nights filled with memorable moments.

Can’t relate? I empathize with you.

When the students at the elementary school I work at finally finished their school year this past week, a wave of sadness hit as I realized I would never again experience the carefree summer that awaited them.

Between summer classes, a job and various other responsibilities and obligations, it seemed that a summer to remember was not in the cards for me.

Sure, it’s likely that if I wasn’t working I would spend the majority of my time hiding from the Arizona heat inside my air-conditioned home, but it’s the sheer principle of having a free summer that so greatly weighed on me.

I long for the times when the last day of school rolled around and I was filled with a bittersweet excitement for summer vacation. Now, I have to worry about saving up for the next year of college and getting ahead in my credits so I can graduate early. I’m trading days of lounging by the pool for cleaning and organizing from the past year and prepping for the new one.

I told one of my students — who was not at all excited about the summer break ahead — how much I wish I could go back and enjoy the June months when the only worry I had was deciding which popsicle flavor to eat. I would trade anything to be able to spend my summer evenings watching an outdoor movie instead of planning the next day’s to-do list.

While this summer looks very different than the summer breaks of my childhood, the dog days are here and it’s up to me to make the most of them.